Stress is an everyday thing. Stresses come big and small, all at once or a little here or there. No matter, what is important is how we can process stress so it does as little harm to our body systems as possible .
Stress is at the top of the list as a major component to harm our brain and body and at times becomes a killer. It breaks down the immune system, creates havoc in the body cells trying to regenerate new and healthy cells during our normal day. It puts you at risk for heart conditions, diabetes, and especially cancer. Stress is particularly detrimental to the brain and mental health, and contributes to everything from brain fog and anxiety as well as dementia.
Stress can seize up your brain at the worst of times, like when you need to present a project or give a speech. It also interferes with judgment and can cause you to make bad decisions when the pressure is on.
Stress can also inhibit the formation of new brain cells, and this will actually cause the brain to shrink.
Of course it is almost impossible to have a totally stress free life , however you can learn to change your response to how stress affects you.
When stress comes into our lives we tend to not fully breathe. We breathe in short breaths in the upper register of our chest. This does not allow full oxygenation to reach our brains and can increase the sense of anxiety and helplessness. I see this time and again with my clients on the table and I like to start a session as well end it with my clients doing three large inhalations, filling the torso full of air all the way down to the pelvis, hold that breathe for at least 3 seconds, then let the exhalation of that breath be the release of the held stress.
Another exercise that works in combination with the breath exercise is ‘self talk’. In a comfortable sitting position and while exhaling your breath doing the previous exercise create a self talk script that resonates with you. This could be phrases as follows:
- My arms are heavy.
- My legs are heavy.
- My legs and arms are warm.
- My eyes are heavy and soft and relaxed.
- My heartbeat is calm and regular.
- My breathing is calm and regular.
- My forehead is relaxed and soft.
You have major tools in hand of managing your life as well as reducing stress. You do have control!